Today’s news from

Democrats kill reopening of Coniglio ethics complaint, Moran on 14th district 501(c)4 group, court challenge expected in Atlantic City power struggle, Rider University memorializes Dr. David Rebovich, Gov. says troop deployment hurts state’s emergency response.



“Democrats on the legislative panel charged with monitoring ethics among state lawmakers have killed a proposal to reopen a complaint against Sen. Joseph Coniglio (D-Bergen), a lawmaker identified as the subject of a federal criminal probe.

Republicans on the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards voted unanimously to seek additional testimony from Coniglio in connection with a complaint they had dismissed before the U.S. Attorney identified Coniglio as a target of an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest among lawmakers.

The committee members voted 8-4 to re-open the Coniglio matter, but because it takes nine votes to initiate committee action, the motion to bring Coniglio in for a new hearing failed, Counsel Al Porroni told committee members in an Oct. 11 letter. The votes were solicited by fax and phone earlier this month.

Coniglio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, is under federal investigation in connection with $1.6 million in state budget grants awarded to Hackensack University Medical Center. When the grants were awarded, Coniglio, a retired plumber, was being paid $5,000 a month by the medical center to serve as a consultant on plumbing matters.

Committee members seeking the new inquiry wanted Coniglio to explain why his name appeared on a letter seeking state funding for the medical center when he had submitted a written statement to the ethics panel stating he had not tried to win funds for the hospital.

"Apparently, the committee has become so embroiled in partisan ship that it cannot read the two documents we have," said Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), one of the Republicans who voted to reopen the Coniglio case. ” (McNichol, Star-Ledger)

The four committee members who voted to wait until a future meeting to reconsider the question were Judge Thomas C. Brown, Judge Martin L. Greenberg, Kevin Haverty and Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, and Assemblyman Robert M. Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, recused themselves………..

Keith Furlong, a Coniglio spokesman, said, "Senator Coniglio has earned a reputation for honesty and integrity throughout nearly four decades of public service. He has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing and he is determined to clear his name."


“Just what New Jersey needs: another slippery character with lots of money to spend and a penchant for avoiding the truth.

The man is Brian Brown, a young conservative who arrived in Princeton two months ago to run a new advocacy group funded by anonymous donors, Common Sense America. Already, both Democrats and Republicans are begging Brown to return home to Connecticut.

"That's good for us," Brown says. "The hubbub has gotten us a lot more attention."………….

The problem is that Brown, intentionally or not, is wrecking the most ambitious political reform this state has attempted in years. The reform is known as the clean election initiative, and it provides public financing for legislative races so that candidates don't have to beg for special interest money. Three districts are taking part in a pilot program this year………

But outsiders like Brown are not bound by the rules. They have a free-speech right to spend whatever they want.

His organization has spent an estimated $125,000 on radio ads and fake "push polls" that target Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein over her votes in support of tax increases.

"The whole purpose of the reform is to create an even playing field," says Greenstein, who represents the 14th District, east of Trenton. "And already the playing field is no longer even.

What makes it worse is that Brown is not coming clean about his real reason for targeting Greenstein.

He is the full-time director of a separate group that's devoted to blocking gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage. But he knows that the anti-gay cause does not resonate in a tolerant state like New Jersey. So the ads all focus on Greenstein's votes in favor of tax increases, a more promising way to drag her down. ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)



ATLANTIC CITY – The city Democratic Committee on Thursday formally submitted the three names it chose to replace recently resigned Mayor Bob Levy, but other party members continued meeting with election-law attorneys, contemplating the expected court challenge and what happens next.

"I don't see how anyone could see what happened last night as legitimate," said attorney James Leonard, who advised acting Mayor William "Speedy" Marsh during Levy's absence. Leonard said the process was rigged, but the group backing Marsh would triumph.

The vote felt like a stickup, Leonard said. Entering the union hall for the vote, "I felt like a store clerk watching the guy come in and put his ski mask on," he said. "But this time the guy's not getting out of the parking lot with the money."

The Atlantic City Democratic Committee picked city Business Administrator Domenic Cappella, committee Chairman Scott Evans and former Councilwoman Barbara Hudgins as candidates to succeed Levy with a 23-18 vote.

But the voting was marred by claims that the process was flawed………

The nomination shenanigans apparently baffled Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who was in town for Thursday night's implosion of Sands Casino Hotel. City Councilman Marty Small said, "I had a lengthy conversation with him and (Corzine) said, 'What the hell is going on here?'"

"I said the process wasn't right. It's not the democratic process," Small said, "And you know, I pretty much told him that we might have to take this to another level."” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)



“Colleagues, friends, family and students yesterday held a memorial service in Lawrence for longtime Rider University professor and much-esteemed political observer David Rebovich, 58, who died last Friday, shortly after suffering a heart attack.

Rebovich, known statewide for his keen political insight, was frequently quoted by the media; on campus his political science students knew him as a hard-working, dedicated teacher, a humble mentor and a friend.

"Dr. Rebovich never let his physical ailments stop him from attending his student's hockey or basketball games or lending an ear to help a student in need," said senior Jamie Papapetros, in a moving address to the assembly yesterday.

"As an adviser, he helped guide many of us on the right direction on our undergraduate careers."

Rebovich served as the director of Rider's Institute for New Jersey Politics and last year was named the 16th most powerful figure in state politics by political Web site He taught at Rider for 28 years.

"Clearly he was our state's most prolific, respected and influential political commentator," said Rider President Mordechai Rozanski.

"I valued his wise counseling on numerous issues, most importantly on the politics and personalities of Trenton," Rozanski said. "He prepped me for my meetings and occasionally paved the way by introducing me to political leaders. A call from David always opened doors and his influence was immense. David was one of a kind. He was one of us and we will miss him terribly.” (Chu, Trenton Times)



“The Pentagon has given the New Jersey Army National Guard about $20 million to bolster its forces as it prepares to deploy more than 3,000 soldiers from across the state to Iraq next summer — the largest combat mobilization since World War II.

Maj. Gen. Glenn Rieth said the bulk of the money is being used to hire as many as 400 full-time troops from across the Army to bolster the ranks of the state's traditional force, which serves part time until called to war. The additional soldiers will help with pre-mobilization training and will deploy to the combat zone to add their expertise.

"The amount of money we've been given has been historic," Rieth said in an interview at Fort Dix. "I think big Army finally got it right. … They've resourced us for success."

Soldiers from the state's largest unit, the 50th Brigade Combat Team, will begin specialized training at their local armories during their monthly drill weekends. The soldiers will be mobilized for full-time training, most likely at Fort Bliss, Texas, in June, and could be in Iraq by August. Their time on active duty would end in June 2009.

"We've got a lot to do and not a lot of time," said Col. Steven Ferrari, who will be the unit commander in Iraq. The brigade, which includes infantry, field artillery, reconnaissance, MPs and military intelligence soldiers, will be responsible for three prisoner detention facilities. ” (Woolley, Star-Ledger)



“New Jersey's ability to handle a weather disaster or major emergency is suffering because the state's National Guard troops are being sent in large numbers to fight the war in Iraq, Governor Corzine said Thursday.

The governor spoke out against the latest announcement from military officials that about 2,700 soldiers will be leaving for service in Iraq in early 2008, with many coming from North Jersey armories.

The activation of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will begin with training in June.

The overseas deployment will be the second for many of the brigade's members since Sept. 11, 2001, and is coming about two years ahead of schedule for a force that originally wasn't expecting to be asked to head back until 2010.

Corzine, speaking at Fort Dix in Burlington County on Thursday, said he believes the federal government is overusing the state's Guard troops.

The Guard's mission is to protect the homeland as a strategic reserve and not to be used an operational force, said Corzine………

"You are handicapping yourself to some degree when you send people out of state," Corzine said. "We will be strapped for resources."” (Reitmeyer, Bergen Record)



“House lawmakers on Thursday fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority need to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would expand a state-run children's health insurance program.

"We won this round on SCHIP," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. Thursday's vote, 273-156, came as no surprise……….

U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, a Republican from New Jersey's 5th district, was one of just three New Jersey lawmakers to stick with the White House and sustain the president's veto.

Garrett asserted that the bill would have offered health care subsidies to illegal immigrants and also to well-to-do families earning enough money to qualify for tax penalties under the Alternative Minimum Tax. "This bill was never about helping children. It was always about politics," Garrett claimed.

New Jersey U.S. Reps. Jim Saxton, R-3rd Dist., and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th Dist., also voted to block the bill from becoming law………..

U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Chris Smith and Mike Ferguson, all New Jersey Republicans, voted for the veto override.

The $60 billion plan, first drafted in the Senate, represented a less ambitious bill than a $70 billion draft originally approved by the House. ” (Cahir, Express-Times)



“Yes, Monmouth County has traditionally been Republican.

But it’s been a fickle place in recent times, which went for Al Gore for President in 2000 the same year it gave Jon Corzine a thumbs down in his U.S. Senate bid.

Recognizing the power and popularity of Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Assemblyman Sean Kean, Democrats are staying away from competing heavily in their districts – at least when it comes to the senate seats.

"I’ve been chairman of the Democratic Party in Monmouth County for 19 years, and I will tell you this – you can’t underrate the value of incumbency," says Victor Scudiery, chair of the Monmouth County Democratic Party. "These guys have their pictures in the paper, and their message in the paper, it’s tough.”

Kyrillos is running for re-election in district 13, and Kean is hoping to move up to succeed retiring Sen. Joseph Palaia in the 11th. They both have plenty of money left in the bank for the home stretch – $269,105 for Kyrillos and $175,145 for Kean, relative to their opponents' $14,400 for Democrat Leonard Inzerillo in the 13th district, and $5,960 for Democrat John Villapiano in the 11th, according to state Election Law Enforcement Commission reports.

The Assembly seats below them could be in play – and on the face of it, particularly in the 11th where there are no incumbents, as Kean is vacating his seat to run for senate and fellow GOP Assemblyman Steve Corodemus is retiring……………

In addition to securing a win for Team Karcher, the reality is the Democrats would sooner pick up some down-ballot victories to threaten the core of Republican power in Monmouth County than add more warm bodies to the General Assembly, where the party of Democratic Speaker Joseph Roberts already has a comfortable edge, 50-30.

But the 13th and 11th districts on paper aren’t overwhelmingly Republican, by any means. In the 11th Republicans have the edge in money certainly, but not much in numbers: 23,958 to 21, 491. In the 13th the Republicans again maintain just a slight edge in numbers of registered voters: 22,149 to 21,257." (Pizarro,



“The gloves had come off in the race for Monmouth County sheriff, a three-year elected position that will be decided Nov. 6. But those gloves may be back on.

Kimberly Guadagno, the Republican candidate, says she no longer will talk about why her campaign last week created a Web site centered on Democratic candidate Jack Hill's depositions in an ongoing sexual harassment case. The site's address is

Guadagno also has kept her distance from an earlier news release accusing Hill of having a "secret slush fund." The statement said a political action committee that intended to support Hill had received "questionable" campaign donations, but it failed to mention the committee had returned the contributions. Guadagno said she did not preview the prepared statement before it was issued.

Asked if creating the Web site or issuing the statement on the nonexistent slush fund were mistakes, Guadagno said she had no comment beyond a six-paragraph e-mail she sent to the Asbury Park Press, which had requested interviews with the candidates.

"I'm not adding or taking away from my statement," Guadagno said.

Hill said Guadagno is backpedaling on what he called "character assassinations."

"When you're in command, you're the leader. That means you take the responsibility. She doesn't. She blames others. She says she doesn't directly initiate these things," Hill said. "If you're the boss, you don't let the staff take the hit for you. I think this is indicative of how she would run the Sheriff's Office."” (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



“State Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough says he does not welcome the overdevelopment that crowds Egg Harbor Township's schools and roads, but campaign-finance reports show he does welcome campaign cash from developers.

In his first campaign for Senate, McCullough has already collected $26,100 in contributions from developers, the large majority of whom built housing projects in Egg Harbor Township, according to reports released last Friday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. McCullough's opponent, Assemblyman Jim Whelan, collected $16,500 for his campaign from developers in the same period.

Contacted by the Press, McCullough said he is not aware of who contributes to his campaigns.

"If somebody at a fundraiser hands me an envelope, I just turn it right over to the treasurer," he said.

ELEC reports dating to 1988 show McCullough accepted at least $36,980 from developers for his campaigns for Egg Harbor Township Committee. He took $9,910 from developers when running for re-election in 2006 alone.

McCullough's latest ELEC report, filed last week – which showed he raised a total of $459,565 – makes it difficult to determine just how much he received from developers and other interests. Of 42 individual contributors, the occupations of 24 were left blank.” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)



“HOBOKEN – Fourth Ward City Council candidate Dawn Zimmer yesterday filed a countercomplaint against the amateur paparazzi who accused her of trying to grab his camera and wrist.

Zimmer filed the complaint with the Hoboken Municipal Court against 18-year-old Matthew Calicchio, alleging harassment.

According to reports, the confrontation happened near First and Madison streets at about 5:15 p.m. last Friday, when Calicchio began taking pictures of her.

Earlier in the week, Calicchio filed a simple assault complaint at the court against Zimmer, alleging that she grabbed his wrist and his camera when he took her photo while she was walking her dog.

In the police report, filed with her complaint, Zimmer said she was walking her dog Julia when a "a 6-foot-tall heavy set" man started taking pictures of her, running in front of her and blocking her path. She asked for the camera and reached for it, but he ran away, she said.

Calicchio said he decided to snap a photograph when he saw Zimmer failing to pick up after her dog. Zimmer has denied this and Calicchio was unable to provide a photo of that. ” (Hack, Jersey Journal)



“Very quietly, another challenger has emerged with the intention of doing what Democrats have found nearly impossible: ousting 14-term U.S. Rep. Chris Smith.

Josh Zeitz, 33, just got back to his hometown of Bordentown a few months ago from a four year teaching stint at Cambridge University in England. But he has already raised $43,000 under the radar, and hopes to get $100,000 before the year is up.

Zeitz, who has a PhD in history, taught at Rutgers, Brown and Harvard before heading to England. He also recently published two non-fiction books: Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern and White Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics and the Shaping of Postwar Politics.

His money so far has come mostly from phone calls to friends and family and small private house party fundraisers. One of those parties was in Maryland, where he was introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Zeitz emphasized that Van Hollen was not there in any official capacity)……….

“I think Amy (Vasquez) should run the kind of campaign she wants to run. She’s great,” said Zeitz. “My feeling is that I’ve got to show credibility before I put out press releases explaining what I want to do.”……………

“I think what most people don’t realize is this district is really quite winnable,” said Zeitz. The key, like what Murphy did in Pennsylvania, is to tie Smith to the ever-unpopular President Bush as often as possible. “Chris Smith may have been a moderate republican back in the 1980’s, maybe even 90s, but ever since the Bush Administration took over, he’s been in lock step with them.”

If the credentials appear too liberal for a Republican district that reelected smith last year by 66 percent – a district that became even more Republican after redistricting at the beginning of this decade — Zeitz begs to differ.

“I would call myself a centrist Democrat, which means I believe we need to emphasize national security. But part of emphasizing and strengthening our national security is getting out of Iraq,” said Zeitz.

But to Smith Chief of Staff Mary Noonan, Zeitz doesn’t present any more of a challenge than any of the many challengers who have come before him. The Pennsylvania district, she noted, has traditionally been a "volatile district," where the incumbent was a first-termer, not a well-known incumbent.

“We’ve heard this song before,” she said.” (Friedman,



“More than 50 school districts and charter schools have been deemed "in need of improvement" because of subpar test scores under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, state officials said yesterday.

A little shorter than past years, the list of 44 districts and nine charters is a mix of urban and suburban, including large districts such as Trenton, New Brunswick and Plainfield, and more suburban ones such as Morris Hills, Warren Hills, and East Windsor regionals.

Also included for the first time are six districts — including Newark, Paterson, and Elizabeth — that have fallen short four consecutive years, putting them in peril of forced changes to their budgets, curricula, or staffing.

But state officials yesterday downplayed any such sanctions until there are further evaluations in each district, probably within this school year. For a vast majority of the others, the sanctions are mostly limited to notifying parents, undergoing state reviews, and developing plans for improvement.

Overall, the announcement of designated districts is similar to the better-known list of individual schools sanctioned under the federal law that was released earlier this fall. Yesterday's list instead uses districtwide scores on state tests.

State officials yesterday said the list shows many districts have made improvements from the year before, when more than 60 districts and charters were designated. Twelve districts previously designated had made enough progress to be removed altogether, and another 30 districts made enough progress that they could be removed next year.

"While there is still work to be done in the districts, it is clear they have made improvements, and there is an expectation that after another year of progress, they will no longer be on the list," said state Education Commissioner Lucille Davy. ” (Mooney, Star-Ledger)



“TOMS RIVER — It's the thick of the campaign season, and mayoral candidates are being accused of transgressions ranging from missing too many meetings to bloating budgets to associating with an Islamic terrorist.

While one candidate says he won't accept health benefits if elected, another says he won't take the mayoral salary for a year — at least. Democrat Richard P. Strada bashed Republicans for a question posed in a "push poll" that suggested he supports Islamic extremists.

According to Juan Bellu, campaign chairman for GOP candidate Thomas F. Kelaher, some Toms River voters were called and asked about 60 questions.

One of those questions had to do with whether voters would support a candidate who invited an Islamic resident affiliated with the "blind sheik" who was convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 to a forum at Ocean County College. Strada, a professor of political science at the school, organized the event.

Mohamed Nabeel Elmasry worked as an interpreter and paralegal aide for the defense team. In 1994, FBI agents raided his home looking for evidence for the trial and eventually returned what they seized.

"Instead of discussing the real issues confronting the residents of Toms River, Kelaher's campaign continues to attempt to associate me with terrorists," Strada said.” (Kidd, Asbury Park Press)



“The Somerset County Park Commission last night increased the rent on most employee homes in county parks but sent some reforms adopted last month back to committee.

In line with August appraisals of park homes, the commission raised Parks Director Raymond Brown's rent significantly, to $2,500 from the $1,000 he and his wife, Roseann, the deputy county clerk, began paying that month.

But the new policy raises other rents gingerly, from the current range of zero to $520, to a new range of zero to $650. John Kitchen, the deputy parks director for golf, said commissioners recognize employees provide valuable services at the homes, such as maintenance and security.

The commission declined to charge rent on the most valuable property, a log lodge in the Sour land Mountains that Darrell Marcinek, maintenance director for the county's five golf courses, occupies.

Kitchen, a former Somerset freeholder who served on the hous ing committee, said after the public meeting the use of a house and county car were negotiated with Marcinek before he took the job for the opening of the commission's Neshanic Valley Golf Course in 2003.

"It is customary in that industry that housing and a vehicle is part of the compensation package," Kitchen said. ” (Tyrell, Star-Ledger)



“After defeating a slate of Edison council members in the June primary, a ticket of Democratic candidates backed by Mayor Jun Choi faces a challenge from four Republicans in a November election that also features a crucial vote that could change the township's form of government.

The Democratic candidates, Melissa Perilstein, AnnMarie Grif fin-Ussak, Wayne Mascola and Sudhanshu Prasad, have campaigned against a referendum that would create a ward system of government and expand the council from seven to nine members.

Republican challengers James Kukor, Aimee Szilagyi, Bruno Bumbaca and Thomas Hughes have united with a disaffected group of Democrats to support the two ballot questions on the ward system. Democrats far outnumber registered GOP voters in the township and a Republican hasn't held a council seat since the mid-1990s.

A similar ward proposal failed by a slim margin four years ago and Republican leaders say wards would give the GOP a better chance of winning council seats.

"It's a much more representative form of government," said Republican Chairwoman Sylvia Engel. "It failed (four years ago) by only 29 votes. It was close enough to de serve a second chance."

Evan Stavisky, campaign manager for the Democratic slate, said the political newcomers backed by Choi would bring new ideas and diverse backgrounds to the council.

"They are four proud Democrats running to maintain Edison as a great place to raise a family," Stavisky said, adding they are running on a platform of reducing taxes and fighting overdevelopment. "These four citizen activists came from nowhere to win off the Democratic line. They are in tune with the Democrats in the township." ” (Din, Star-Ledger)



“The candidates for the 26th District state Senate seat came down on opposite sides of the November ballot question on state funding for stem-cell research.

Republican Assembly-man Joseph Pennacchio said Thursday he opposed the ballot question asking voters to allow the state to borrow up to $450 million to support stem cell research. He called the work "an unproven science."……

He said that the creation of three separate research centers was unnecessary, saying that one unified center would allow for better communication among researchers. He also said his opposition was fueled by a significant number of district residents who oppose stem-cell research for moral and ethical reasons. He said that there are about 70 possible medical cures that have been identified using adult stem cells, and felt there were ethical issues in the potential use of embryonic stem cells.

His opponent in the race, Democrat Wasim Khan, 52, of Parsippany, said he supported the ballot question because it is a chance for New Jersey to become a leader in a new research field that he felt was lagging in the United States. Khan said that there were potential economic benefits from the funding and that the researchers would be held to the highest ethical standards.

Khan said 60 percent of medical students do not practice medicine, but instead go into medical research.

"Who will pay for this research?" he asked. He said it was unfair to presume that stem cell researchers would be unethical in their work.” (Daigle, Daily Record)



“WHITE TWP. | Warren County's largest public labor union quizzed freeholder candidates for two hours Thursday night on cronyism, taxes and civil service jobs.

Democratic candidate Damian Fracasso and Independent candidate Henry Dinger heard from AFSCME Local 3287 members who want pension security and want to see the right people getting good jobs.

The forum was held in the county administration building.

"The freeholders seem to have a friends-and-family plan when it comes to appointing people," said Michael Petty, a Warren Haven nurse. "How would you stop that?"

Fracasso and Dinger both advocated hiring well-trained employees in transparent processes while ensuring a good wage. Dinger told the union they have the right to challenge unqualified appointments.

Missing from the debate was incumbent Republican Freeholder John DiMaio, who got held up at another event, according to county GOP Chairman Douglas Steinhardt. Steinhardt filled in for DiMaio for a portion of the debate, eventually leaving to take his sick daughter home. ” (Satullo, Express-Times)



“When Terence Wall resigned last month from his position as the borough's manager, he didn't leave empty-handed — he received a $52,492 lump sum payment, according to documents released this week.

Wall got $37,508, equivalent to four months of his salary, and $12,984, which represents six weeks worth of unused sick and vacation time, according to the five-page separation agreement.

As part of the deal, Wall and the borough agreed to part ways and not sue each other in the future, according to the agreement, which the Asbury Park Press obtained after filing an Open Public Records Act form.

"(Wall) got everything that he asked for," said Councilman James Cocuzza, who voted to accept Wall's resignation on Sept. 7. "We all wanted to move on."………..

The $52,492 figure was presented to council as an agreement between the attorneys who represented Wall and the borough, said Councilman George Hoff, who voted against accepting the resignation because he believed Keansburg did not have a plan in place for how to handle administrative affairs.

"It would have made more sense to have had a plan," Hoff said.

Cocuzza and Hoff declined to say whether council was dissatisfied with Wall's job performance. The separation agreement bars Wall and the borough from speaking negatively about each other in public.” (Penton, Asbury Park Press)



“All four candidates seeking two open seats on the Borough Council this year say they have one main goal — alleviating the burden of property taxes.

Democratic Council President Shawn P. McCarthy, seeking a second term, and his running mate, former mayor and borough councilman Peter A. Marone, both said they already have a record of working to reduce taxes. McCarthy said he has instituted meetings with all borough department heads, the police, fire companies and first aid squad during the annual budget process to reduce spending, a process he said has been effective.

Marone said that, when he was mayor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the borough actually saw the tax rate decrease.

"When I was mayor in 1979, 1980 and 1981, we lowered the taxes by 26 percent," Marone said. "Not stayed the same — it was lowered."

However, Republican candidate Susan Rogers — a longtime borough resident who has no prior elected experience but serves on multiple governmental bodies in town including the Planning Board — questioned the effectiveness of McCarthy's strategy for addressing taxes, saying the borough's property tax rate has continued to increase.

The current municipal rate is 79.5 cents per $100 assessed value. The general tax rate is $3.566 per $100 assessed value.” (Schweiger, Asbury Park Press)



Diane Reaves will, in the end, get her rally.

After months of cancellations and roadblocks, she was told last week that the township would provide security so that a demonstration protesting illegal immigration could be held safely outdoors in a public place.

And despite all the setbacks, the date has stayed as planned: Saturday.

"Right now I'm feeling so excited, I'm on cloud nine," Reaves, a first-time rally organizer, said. "Even if five people show up, I still feel it's an accomplishment."

Ever since broaching the idea of holding the event over the summer, Reaves has received rejections from the Police Department regarding security and the American Legion post in Lakewood and the Old Bridge Elks Lodge regarding venues.

The original rally date, Aug. 25, was canceled when Reaves was told that the police would not provide security for her private event, to be held in the town square. Yet during last Thursday's meeting, Committeeman Robert Singer suggested that the security should be made available, and Police Chief Robert Lawson agreed.

"Any group that wishes to hold a rally has a right to do so, and our obligation is that, whatever protection they need, we take care of it," Singer said.” (Patberg, Asbury Park Press)



“Government transparency was the focus of a televised debate among the candidates for mayor and council at the borough hall Thursday night.

Facing an audience of around 40, the GOP running mates — Councilman Richard Crater Jr. for mayor, and his colleagues on the council, James Collander and Cordelia Fuller, running for re-election — touted their record on open government, pointing to the television broadcast of council meetings and a municipal government Web site. "I think we'd have to take the meetings outside if we have to be more open," Collander said.

Council challenger Joe Marts, running as an independent, also said open government was among his priorities. In response to an audience question about his open government initiatives during his term as mayor starting in 1976, he said the Open Public Meetings Act had been passed during his tenure, and he had had no difficulty adjusting, unlike some of his colleagues at the time.” (Padmandabhan, Daily Record)



“City Council candidate Adam Goldstein has been quiet on the issues, according to his opponent.

Too quiet, incumbent Anthony J. Gioielli said during a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Thursday evening.

Gioielli challenged Goldstein, a local businessman, to a formal debate before the Nov. 6 general election.

"It's 20 days to the election and I still don't know what Mr. Goldstein's platform is," said Gioielli, 54, a former Vineland police captain. "I still don't know what he's for or against."

Goldstein, who attended a council work session following the news conference, said he planned to respond today to Gioielli's challenge.

"I'm going to read what he has to say first" before responding, said Goldstein, 40. "We haven't heard any of his issues yet, either." (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)



“More than 100 Union residents reflecting the broad diversity in the township gathered Thursday night at Burnet Middle School in a show of dissatisfaction with the political status quo.

Speakers said they wanted to change the township committee form of government that has been in place for more than a century and elect their own mayor and council.

They said a strong mayor would be more responsive than the person holding that position under the current "musical chairs" rotation of township committee members an nually selecting a mayor from among themselves.

The gathering included a family of Southeast Asian descent, a Latina mother and her two children, a former Republican county freeholder candidate, frequent critics of the township administration and senior citizens.

"Here I am, I'm ready," shouted a woman who identified herself as Dolores Maviglio when the question arose of write-in candidates for the Nov. 6 election. Mayor Brenda Restivo and Deputy Mayor Clifton People Jr. are unopposed in the township committee race. (Jett, Star-Ledger)

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